Friday, 26 July 96 Washington, DC
1. LARGE HADRON COLLIDER: GERMAN PULL BACK CREATES SHOCK WAVES!
When the SSC was cancelled, the message was that all future mega-science projects must be international (WN 22 Oct 93). CERN was held up as a model for "globalization" of science, but this week, Germany announced that it will reduce its contribution to the LHC by 10%, even though its share is set by treaty. Other European members of CERN threaten to cut their share in retaliation. It could doom the giant accelerator. One proposal is for the US to make up the difference in exchange for full membership, but it's not likely Congress would agree. Many Europeans are opposed as well; after all, CERN was founded to wrest the lead in high-energy physics away from the US. The implications go far beyond the search for the Higgs. All three international mega-science projects--the Space Station, ITER and now the LHC--are in some trouble, with at least one partner withdrawing or pulling back.
2. FUSION BUDGET '97: WHAT'S NEW DIDN'T EVEN GET THE SIGN RIGHT.
We reported last week that the Senate bill calls for an increase (WN 19 Jul 96). It doesn't. The Senate bill actually shrinks fusion 0.8% to $233.3M. End of story? Not quite. Unlike all other DOE programs, the budget tables in both the Senate and House bills do not put fusion program direction on a separate line. (That's what led us astray last week!) The House report may explain why: the lump-sum budget will "provide maximum flexibility" to the Office of Fusion Science in slashing its headquarters staff by a mandated 25%. Money saved on program administration can be applied to fusion research -- I think.
3. DOE: AMENDMENT-LADEN ENERGY AND WATER BILL PASSED BY HOUSE.
The last of the 13 annual appropriations bills passed the House by 391-23. The Schaefer-Klug amendment scooped up money saved by other amendments, and added 0.4% skimmed from Energy Research, to increase renewable energy programs by $30M. The Obey amendment to kill the Advanced Light Water Reactor was narrowly defeated, along with the Markey amendment that would have ended research on "pyroprocessing" of nuclear fuel rods, which opponents call "proliferation" and proponents call "waste reduction."
4. PESTICIDES: AFTER 38 YEARS, DELANEY DIES WITHOUT FRIENDS.
Adopted in 1958, the Delaney clause prohibited ANY residue of a pesticide that poses ANY risk of cancer. Since 1958, analytical techniques have improved by perhaps six orders of magnitude. The change defines safe as "a reasonable certainty that no harm will result from aggregate exposure." After years of bitter dispute, Delaney went down without a single defender in either House.
5. NATIONAL MEDAL OF SCIENCE: KUMAR PATEL, APS PAST-PRESIDENT
and Vice Chancellor for Research at UCLA, was among the eight awarded the medal by President Clinton at the White House today.